Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Judge Interrogates Trump Lawyers Seeking To Protect January 6 Documents

WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge expressed skepticism Thursday when former President Donald Trump’s attorneys asked her to prevent the transfer of documents wanted by a House committee investigating the January 6 uprising.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said some of the committee’s requests for April 2020 were “alarming.” But she disagreed with the claims of Trump’s lawyers that Congress did not have a legislative goal to obtain Trump’s call logs, talk notes and other notes from January 6, when his supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of undoing his defeat to President Joe Biden.

“The January 6 riots took place at the Capitol,” she said. “This is literally the home of Congress.”

Chutkan said she would soon rule on Trump’s suit to block the transfer of documents related to the uprising to a House committee. Biden has largely relinquished executive privileges over documents held by the White House, staging a clash between Trump and the executive and legislative branches of government that is likely to reach the Supreme Court.

The entries to be turned over to the committee include call logs, draft remarks and speeches, and handwritten notes by then Trump administration chief Mark Meadows, according to a National Archives court document. There are also copies of the talking points for then-press secretary Kaylee McEnany and the “draft decree on electoral integrity,” according to the National Archives.

Trump’s previous attempts to hide his tax returns and other records from Congress were different because it involved his personal finances, Chutkan said Friday. A battle is under way for documents “that are expected to further congressional oversight of the January 6 events,” she said.

The judge did question some of the dozens of claims put forward by the Trump liaison committee and other documents. She specifically asked about a poll data request conducted by Trump campaign officials since April 2020.

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Douglas Letter, a House lawyer, argued the polls would provide insight into how Trump is spreading unsubstantiated electoral fraud conspiracy theories.

“He didn’t want to lose the election,” Chutkan said at one point. “Do you need poll data to determine that a president who is about to be re-elected wants to win and may be worried that he will not win?”

Biden has so far relinquished executive authority over nearly all of the documents requested by the committee, although the committee agreed to “defer” its requests by several dozen pages of notes at the direction of Biden’s White House.

Explaining why Biden did not classify Trump’s tapes, White House adviser Dana Remus wrote that they could “shed light on the events in and around the White House on January 6 and indicate the need for the Special Committee to understand the facts behind the most serious attack on the country.” … the activities of the federal government after the civil war ”.

Trump called the document a request for an “annoying illegal fishing expedition” that was “unrelated to any legitimate legislative purpose” in his lawsuit to block the transfer of documents to the National Archives.

The lawsuit also challenges the legality of the Presidential Records Act, which allows the incumbent president to waive his predecessor’s executive privileges, calling it inherently unconstitutional. Biden said he will review each request separately to determine if this privilege should be waived.

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